I feel like wired earbuds are in a strange place right now. They are caught somewhere between old technology and the industry standard, sort of like Windows XP in 2011. Everyone I know owns and uses at least one set. Heck, even companies like Apple are releasing phones without 3.5 mm ports but still providing a method to connect wired earbuds. I guess my point in all this is, how far do we go when investing money into dated technology?
If I’m being honest, up until we were provided these headphones for review, I was the kind of guy that would grab a pair of $10 skull candy earbuds from Target and use them until they gave out. V-Moda has successfully turned me around with their Forza line of in-ear buds.
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At first sight, the two different buds are separated by color. Although I was given orange for the Forza and silver for the Forza Metallo, there are additional color options available when ordering, none of which overlap.
Digging a little deeper into the design, there doesn’t seem to be too many differences. Both come were provided with the following list of items:
- 4 sizes of silicon buds for a near custom fit
- 3 sizes of sport fins to secure the buds during rigorous activity
- a pair of sport hooks if you prefer this style over the fins
- a pair of remix rings to attached custom models (if you ordered them)
- a shirt clip
And finally, each set comes with a case and this is where we see the real difference. The case for the Forza set comes with a mesh case. The Forza Metallo set, however, comes with a leather case with a magnetized lid, which brings some class and value to the more expensive set.
As far as I can tell, both headsets share most of the same technical specifications. Some of the notable ones are:
- 5.8mm neodymium dynamic-type Speaker Driver
- 20Hz – 40,000 Hz Frequency Response
- Sensitivity of 99dB @1kHz 1mW
- -42dB Microphone sensitivity
- 3.5mm, 24k gold plated plug set at 45 degrees
- Controls customized to support either iOS or Android (choose at checkout)
There is one advertised difference between the two. The Metallo version states that it has what they refer to as a “DiamondBack” ultra reinforced cable (up to 20x strength). I’m not sure how that is much different from the regular Forza which also advertises ultra-reinforced cable (up to 20x strength) however there is a slight difference in how the two feel and the Metallo’s are still holding shape from the packaging (which is kind of annoying).
Now that we have technical speak out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff; how these babies perform in the real world. I was very impressed by the quality of sound that I received when using both of the headphones. All the way through the audio levels that I was comfortable exposing my eardrums to, the sound was always clear and crisp with no noticeable distortion.
The sport fins are my favorite part hands down. the 3D printing seems to be on point and the soft rubberised material is very comfortable on my ears. I did chores like cleaning the barn and running the dogs without running into any issues with the buds falling out of place. I wasn’t much for the sport clips. The material used what quite hard and they didn’t seem to hold tightly to my ears as they were supposed to.
The built-in microphone picked up voices very well and I never had issues with cutouts or feedback. I even regularly used them for work and was advised that they sounded great. The controls are well thought out and easy to feel for. They offer a good amount of features with double pressing and long pressing options, but there is nothing here that I have not seen other manufacturers do.
The Forza series of headphone have changed my opinion of how I still think they are in a strange place as far as accessories go, but, I will pay a little bit more attention to quality going forward. As far as which ones I would recommend, the basic Forza headphones should get you what you need. I do find myself using the Metallo’s more often than not but I think that has a lot more to do with me not liking the color orange as opposed to the being any better for some reason. If you really want the leather case, which by the way is about half the size of the mesh one, then go ahead and spend the extra $30, but personally, I don’t know that it would be worth it for me.